A levy on sugary drinks has reduced the amount of sweet products in products by 30 percent

Campaigners have squeezed the government's voluntary sugar reduction plan after it turned out that it was 10 times less effective than the mandatory beverage tax.


A two-year progress report showed that the levy on sugary drinks caused the amount of sugar to fall by 29 percent.

But the non-compulsory government request to companies to reduce the amount of sugar in their snacks saw sweet stuff fall by only 3 percent.

Critics said the findings & # 39; a wake-up call & # 39; and that companies would continue to drag & # 39; drag & # 39; unless they were forced to cut sugar from their products.

A levy on sugary drinks has reduced the amount of sweet products in products by 30 percent

A levy on sugary drinks has reduced the amount of sweet products in products by 30 percent

Last year the government introduced a tax of 24 p per liter on very sugary drinks and 18 p for medium sugar.


This led companies to change their products to prevent them being affected by the charge.

The other government anti-obesity strategy was a non-mandatory & # 39; challenge & # 39; for food companies.

It encouraged them to reduce the amount of sugar in cakes, sweets, cookies and desserts by 20 percent by the end of 2020.

But the latest report from Public Health England showed that overall sugar in these products had fallen by only 3 percent since 2017.

Sue Kellie, deputy CEO at the British Dietetic Association, said: & # 39; This second progress report on the voluntary sugar reduction program generally shows a worrying lack of progress.

& # 39; A reduction of 2.9 percent in 2018 is so far below the target of 20 percent in 2020 that it seems highly unlikely that it will be achieved.

& # 39; It is disappointing that there is so much variation between both food categories and between different food companies.



From April 2018, soft drink companies must pay a levy on drinks with added sugar.

If a drink contains between 5 g and 8 g of sugar per 100 ml, the load is 18 p per liter, while if a drink contains more than 8 g of sugar per 100 ml, the load is 24 p.

Fruit juices and milk are not included in the tax.

The movement is intended to tackle childhood obesity. Sugar-sweetened soft drinks are now the largest source of nutritional sugar for children and teenagers.

Some drinks, including Fanta, Lucozade, Sprite, Dr. Pepper and Vimto, had changed their recipes so that they contained less than 5 g of sugar and did not have to pay the price.


However, others such as Coca Cola and Pepsi refused to lower the amount of sugar and as a result the price of them increased.

The government has predicted that the tax will yield £ 240 million a year, which will be spent on sports clubs and breakfast clubs in schools.

The sugar tax increased £ 153.8 million in the first six months after its introduction, between April and October 2018.

& # 39; It is clear that some are involved in the voluntary scheme, while others choose to ignore it.

& # 39; That some companies have increased the amount of sugar in their products is of particular concern.


& # 39; For comparison: the mandatory levy for the soft drinks industry has led to a significant reduction.

& # 39; We hope the government will consider whether a mandatory approach in other food and beverage categories can cause much faster change.

& # 39; Reformulation is one of the ways the government should take action to help consumers make healthier food choices.

& # 39; We hope that the lack of progress will encourage the government to take action in other areas, such as the introduction of stricter restrictions on advertising and promotion of high fat, sugar and salt products. & # 39;

Katharine Jenner, campaign leader at Action on Sugar, said it was & # 39; shameful & # 39; was that food companies had cut only 3 percent less sugar.


She said: & # 39; It is shameful that other manufacturers are dragging their heels and are unlikely to meet the 20 percent target. Every year more and more children become obese.

& # 39; The government should, however, be proud that they are brave enough to introduce the soft drink levy, which is remarkable because it enabled a significant reduction in sugar in beverages.

& # 39; Manufacturers were then able to avoid the tax – resulting in a much greater reduction in sugar content in beverages in the UK than originally expected.

& # 39; This shows that the food industry, if well motivated, can offer us healthier options.

& # 39; It is imperative that this momentum and this levy be continued and applied to high-calorie processed milk-based foods and beverages that meet an agreed criterion set by the government. & # 39;

The PHE report found only yogurt, which had been reduced by 10 percent, and breakfast cereals, 8.5 percent, were on track to achieve the five-year goal.

The sugar content of puddings increased by 0.5 percent, while candy increased by 0.6 percent.

There was little change for chocolate or ice cream and lollipops, all of which saw only 0.3 percent less sugar.

The sugar content of cakes fell by almost 5 percent, while the sector outside the home sector – including restaurants, pubs and cafes – saw a 5 percent drop in all foods.

Helen Dicken, assistant director of Diabetes UK policies and campaigns, said the government's voluntary plan had struggled.


She added: & # 39; This report makes it clear that, where the levy on the soft drinks industry has been successful, the reform efforts through the sugar reduction program have struggled.

& # 39; Since the program is very unlikely to reach the 20 percent target, the government must now explore different options.

& # 39; The charge has shown that up to 140,000 adults and children per year can prevent obesity and in turn can prevent nearly 19,000 cases of type 2 diabetes – but it cannot work on its own.

& # 39; A number of other measures must be taken, such as the inclusion of milk-based beverages in the levy; making calorie labeling mandatory in restaurants, cafés and takeaways; and a 9:00 pm catchment area for junk food marketing.

& # 39; That said, the role of reformulation in tackling childhood obesity cannot be underestimated.


& # 39; The report is a wake-up call for the government to take the courageous and decisive action needed to tackle the obesity epidemic. & # 39;

Caroline Cerny of the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) said: & # 39; Compared to the voluntary sugar reduction program, the use of a financial levy has proven to be a very effective incentive to induce the beverage industry to reduce sugar in their products.

& # 39; The mixed and disappointing lack of progress in the voluntary sugar reduction program shows that, although some companies follow a responsible approach and reduce sugar from daily products, far too many simply do not do enough.

& # 39; If the food industry continues to fail toward government reformulation goals, regulatory measures such as a levy should be used to boost them.

& # 39; Children's health simply cannot wait for the food industry to do its job and we will not halve the goal of childhood obesity by 2030 at this rate of change.


& # 39; It is particularly worrying that despite an overall small reduction in the sugar content of products, the amount of sugar sold has increased.

"This is a clear sign that reduction programs & # 39; s alone are not sufficient and the government must now quickly and fully deliver on its promises to stop the tide of unhealthy food marketing for children with restrictions on promotions and a 21.00 hour turning point on advertisements for junk food "

Professor Michael Escudier, dean of the dentistry faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons, said the report provides a clear indication of what works and what doesn't.

He added: & # 39; We are all trying to find the balance between the "carrot" and "stick" approaches, but we see today that it is the sticks that work.

& # 39; The levy for the soft drinks industry is successful … Meanwhile, progress has been limited for the products covered by the voluntary sugar reduction program. & # 39;


The amount of sugar that a person must eat per day depends on how old he is.

Children from four to six years old must be limited to a maximum of 19 g per day.

Seven to 10 year olds may not have more than 24 g and children 11 years and older must have 30 g or less.

Meanwhile, the NHS recommends that adults have no more than 30 g of free sugars per day.

Popular snacks contain a surprising amount of sugar and even a single can of Coca Cola (35 g sugar) or a Mars bar (33 g) contains more than the maximum amount of sugar that a child should have during a whole day.

A bowl of Frosties contains 24 g of sugar, which means that a 10-year-old who has Frosties for breakfast is likely to have reached his limit the day before they even leave the house.

Children who eat too much sugar run the risk of damaging their teeth, attracting fat and becoming overweight, and getting type 2 diabetes, which increases the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Source: NHS

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